I'm in Leeds at the moment. It's wet. It's very wet. Actually, I tell a lie, it's sorta wet interspersed with damp. Let's be fair.
But it's England nonetheless, and the dining room still has stewed tea, which makes me happy, and they give me soy milk for it and make gluten free toast, cause they are Excellent Stewards over in the dining room, and I give my paper today and already had my business dinner and made Big Decisions*, and things are going pretty well.
I didn't have the time or the money to stop in London and see friends (for which I apologize, but it's been that sort of year), so I'm just flying in and out of Leeds and only staying for the conference, BUT I did go, on the first day, on The Tour of Gawain Country.
The tour was based on the work of Ralph Elliot, who's written on the landscape he believes was in the Pearl poet's head for the setting of "Gawain and the Green Knight."** And I teach the poem often, and indeed am teaching it in both the fall and the spring semesters this year, so that's all legitimate and stuff.
But really, I wanted a chance to walk around in beautiful country and get some exercise and be amused by being a medievalist. Cause what the hell, if you're not amused by being a medievalist, you're in the wrong line of work.
And it was a tour, and a mighty tour.
I came back exhausted and wet and muddy, from tramping over roots and wet mossy rocks in the high forest, and clambering up and down wet mossy rocks into a crevice in an old crag. And! At one point we had to walk over slippery rocks and a fallen tree branch, to pass safely over a giant mud hole!
This was all excellent. It was just like being Indiana Jones's dad! Ah, the life of the Adventurous Medievalist.
The bus load of medievalists acquitted ourselves well. Nobody fell down, nobody got lost in the mudhole, nobody required assistance.
And the packed lunches were very nice.
*Actually this consisted of the Big Boss saying, we want to put this piece of your work in this other volume, ok? and me saying, sure, why not.
**OMG! I was looking for useable links to the Gawain poem, and I found a Gawain and the Green Knight Paper Doll Set! I kid you not! Too bad they only show one side of the shield, so you can't see the face of Mary.